Ronald Greene committee chairman: ‘Something going on at State Police that’s rotten’

Retired police detective said he believes troopers are still hiding something

By: - March 22, 2022 8:41 pm
Louisiana State Police second-in-command placed on leave for ‘sanitizing’ cell phone

State lawmakers grew frustrated Tuesday with a high-ranking member of Louisiana State Police when he avoided answers to their questions about the 2019 in-custody death of Ronald Greene. 

“There’s something going on at State Police that’s rotten,” Rep. Tanner Magee, R-Houma, chair of a special House committee that is looking into allegations of a coverup. “When you have the shades drawn in and closed up, that thing festers and it stinks, and it gets worse.”

In May 2019, Greene died after what former State Police Superintendent Col. Kevin Reeves initially described to Gov. John Bel Edwards in a text message as a “lengthy, violent struggle” between troopers and an unnamed individual. Greene, who is Black, led police on a vehicle pursuit that ended near Monroe.  

State Police initially claimed Greene succumbed from injuries in the car wreck that ended the chase. Body camera footage from troopers released many months later revealed that troopers, who appear to be white, kicked, dragged, beat and shot Greene with their stun guns on the side of a highway. An autopsy the FBI ordered ruled out that Greene died from injuries in the wreck.

Reeves appeared before the committee a week ago without revealing any additional details about Greene’s death. Lawmakers expressed similar frustration Tuesday with Lt. Col. Doug Cain, who handled LSP public affairs during the Greene incident. Cain cited an ongoing internal investigation within State Police as the reason why he couldn’t answer lawmakers’ questions more thoroughly.

“We start talking about (the Greene incident), wanting to know some answers on it, and then conveniently you conduct an investigation on it so that you can come in here and say ‘I can’t talk about it,” Magee told Cain.

Cain was heavily involved in covering for troopers involved in Green’s violent death, according to a report from WBRZ. Cain did not want a trooper who allegedly withheld evidence to be prosecuted and even “appeared angry” that the Union Parish district attorney was considering it, the report said.

When Cain was asked whether he had called WBRZ reporter Chris Nakamoto and asked him not to air his story, Cain denied doing so and said the report was inaccurate.

“Cain just lied under oath,” Nakamoto said on Twitter soon after Cain’s response.

“With all due respect, Lieutenant Colonel, I do not find your testimony today, most of it, to be credible. I don’t,” Rep. Larry Hughes, D-New Orleans, said to Cain.

Albert Paxton, a State Police detective who investigated Greene’s death, told the committee Tuesday that he believes the law enforcement agency is actively covering something up. He said multiple troopers should be prosecuted for their role in Greene’s death.

Paxton named two troopers who should face criminal charges:  Master Trooper Kory York, seen briefly dragging a handcuffed Green across the ground in the body camera footage; and Lt. John Clary, who was involved in the violent struggle with Greene and claimed that Greene died from the car wreck.

Scott Davis, a retired Louisiana State Police use-of-force expert, told committee members what the troopers did to Greene was “torture and murder.”

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Lawmakers also questioned Cain about why he and Reeves’ phones were wiped clean while they were being investigated following the Greene incident. Cain again couldn’t explain why because of “the investigation.”

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Paxton said it was “suspicious” that high ranking officers would sanitize their phones while under investigation.

The committee is expected to meet again in two weeks. Magee said lawmakers plan to seek several documents.

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JC Canicosa
JC Canicosa

JC Canicosa is an award-winning journalist at The Louisiana Illuminator. Canicosa has previous experience at Investigate-TV and The Loyola Maroon and earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Loyola University New Orleans. At Loyola, he was the senior staff writer at The Maroon and the president of the school's chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Off the clock, Canicosa enjoys playing basketball, watching movies and dabbling in comedy writing.

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